The Omaha City Council has cleared the way for a new Bucky's gas station and car wash to go up on the site of the former Louis Market in Benson.
Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to rezone the property near the intersection of North 58th Street and Northwest Radial Highway. Bucky's will build a 24-hour convenience store that will also include a kitchen offering sandwiches and other fresh foods.
The plans have drawn criticism from neighbors worried about more traffic and late-night problems with noise, lights and crime. Some told the council and the Omaha Planning Board that they'd prefer to see a new grocery replace Louis, a neighborhood fixture from 1957 to 2012.
But Council President Pete Festersen said he and others working on the project didn't have many options.
“We've been working hard for a year and a half to market that site, ideally for something like a grocery and other mixed use,” he said. “This is not an ideal use, from our perspective. … But it is also true we haven't had any other takers.”
The council heard Tuesday from one neighbor, Patricia Anderson, who said she wasn't opposed to the idea of rezoning the area — a move that will place additional limits on what could be built on the site.
The problem, Anderson said, is specifically with the idea of a gas station operating around the clock, bringing lights, noise and other effects to Benson.
“There will be more auto emissions — people are going to be lined up waiting for gas, waiting for the car wash, and that's going to cause an increase in pollution,” she said.
Larry Jobeun, the attorney representing Bucky's, said the company plans to build a facility that's unlike any of its other stations in Omaha.
Plans call for several new trees, tall hedges and building materials that go beyond the city's design standards.
“I think this is a substantial improvement over the look they've had in the past,” he said.
Jobeun said the company plans to offer some produce and other fresh foods, depending on demand from customers.
“The idea is to cater to adjoining neighborhood,” he said.